Monday, January 9, 2017

Alien Board Game Concept: Second Post

I am embracing my Ameritrash gaming roots for this game. There are six decks included. Here is the first post, for reference.

1. The Character Cards, which include The Alien Cards.  You pull powers from the Alien Cards to determine what the Alien does as a revealed Alien.  All Alien Power Cards begin the game face down. When the Alien player reveals themselves for any reason, they may look at all Alien Power Cards. Reveal those that state they begin play Revealed. Otherwise, return the cards to the face down position.

2. Team Cards -- These have the Team the player is on (Good Human/Bad Human/Alien/Infected!; The Alien/Survivor/Insertion Team).

4. Event Cards -- An Event that happens at the start of the round. This is half of the card. The second half comes in to play when the players vote on their objective; the second half of each card is the third potential objective.

5. Inventory Cards -- Stuff the players carry. May grant them extra actions, be required for Events or Objectives.

6. Plot Cards -- Players have these in their hands and use them during the game. Some are used solely in response to another card, others can be used in place of a regular action.

7. Exposure Cards -- Various Events, Exploration actions or Plot cards may force a character to draw Exposure Cards. Exposure cards are secret; not even the player drawing them knows what they say. Most of them simply say: "No effect." A few say: "Lethal radiation. If this card is in your possession at the end of the game, this character dies and cannot contribute to a victory condition for any team." A few say: "Infected. You are secretly infected. If this card is in your possession at the end of the game, this character only contributes to the Alien's team for victory conditions." Effects in the game may allow players to view their (or other!) player's Exposure cards secretly, reveal them or discard them.


What Defines Characters?

Characters are relatively simple. They have only a few values:

1. Health. When you reach 0 health, you die. An Alien that has not revealed whose human character reaches 0 health still dies and can no longer reveal as an Alien. You need to know when it is a good time to abandon your human host!

2. Inventory. How many Inventory cards a character can have in their hand OR revealed in front of them at a given time. Revealed Inventory cards grant actions/advantages to players, while hidden Inventory cards allow the player to hide what they have (and some items might have powerful abilities when first Revealed!) If a character goes over this maximum, they must secretly discard down to their maximum; however, any other player in the same room with empty Inventory slots may salvage anything another character drops. Place cards that have been dropped in a room so that all players know what has been dropped where. Players do not Search for these items; they can always find them with an action.

3. Plot. How many Plot cards a character can have in their hand. If a character goes over this maximum, they must secretly discard down to their maximum.

4. Exposure Threshold. If a character ever has more Exposure cards than their Exposure Threshold, they immediately die. This ensures Human players do not stack exposure on a single character and then have them killed during the finale to minimize the risk of Infection/exposure to other humans. Unlike dying by losing Health (or being killed Dramatically, see below), the Alien player that dies to Exposure immediately reveals as the Alien.

5. Special Ability. See the previous post for example characters with special abilities. This is what sets your character apart from others.



Characters can die by running out of Health, drawing too many Exposure cards or they can die Dramatically. Dramatic deaths are triggered by cards and kill a character no matter how much Health, armor or other defenses the character has. The only way to stop a Dramatic event is to cancel the effect that caused it.


Sample Cards

"Karma's A Bitch."
Plot Card
Play only in response to a Human playing a card targeting You. Only Good Humans may use this.
1. Reveal your Team Card.
2. The player that controls the card you targeted reveals their active Team Card.
3. If they are a Bad Human, counter their card. That character is Dramatically Killed.
4. Place a small Alien model in the square the character was killed in and move your character to an adjacent Explored room.
5. If the target is not a Bad Human, this card has no effect.

"Its Blood is Acid!"
Alien Power Card
This card remains face down after the Alien reveals. The first time the Alien is wounded by a Human, reveal this card. The Human that wounded the Alien is dramatically killed. Reduce the Health of any Human that wounds the Alien by 1 for each successful attack (but not for each wound; if an attack wounds the Alien for more than 1 Health, the Human still only loses 1 Health.)

"Taking You With Me!"
Plot Card
Must have an Explosive in your Inventory (either Revealed or in your hand.) Move all other Human players into an adjacent Explored room. Dramatically kill yourself and remove all small Alien models in the room with you, triggering any "when killing an Alien" effects active only once. If the Alien is in the room, it loses 1 Health. This loss of health cannot be mitigated in any way.


Playing With Exposure

Exposure does a few things. First, it introduces another hidden element where even the player and the Alien don't know if someone is infected. Second, it adds an element of risk. Taking someone with a lot of Exposure on the escape means if they have your objective card you need to win, and they die of radiation poisoning, your team still loses. If they are Infected, you also lose (as all Bad Guy Humans need to have a KNOWN Infected in quarantine, not some random guy gallivanting on the escape shuttle!)

It also gives players that can manipulate Exposure some extra power. For example, most Infected characters lose their Good/Bad Human alignment, taking away a lot of Plot cards from them, and worse, meaning if people examine their role card, they are found out. But, if you see that you are Infected through Exposure, you can hide that fact from other players, since when required to show a Team card, you still show your Good/Bad Human card.

It also means that Humans with lots of Exposure become less safe targets for Alien murder, as that human MIGHT be an Alien, and win you the game. But, the other thing that Exposure does is it puts a time limit on the game. There's only so many ways to discard Exposure, and if you start having all the humans run up their Exposure totals, you start limiting what the characters can do before going over their threshold.


Small Aliens

There are only two threats. The Alien, which is a monster controlled by a player once that player reveals they are the alien (or are forced to by a chosen Objective or by being killed through going over their Exposure Threshold.) The Alien's powers will differ each game depending on the power cards dealt to the Alien.

Small Aliens, however, are very real threats to the Survivors, though the Insertion Team tends to be better armed and able to deal with them in small quantities. Like the Alien, they can move through unexplored rooms. When the Alien has not revealed, small aliens behave in a simple fashion:

1. Move toward the nearest, weakest, loneliest human. In case of a tie, randomly determine which human the aliens attempt to swarm. All small aliens that start in a room move in the same direction, so they will not split up to chase down two different humans.

2. Attack a Human they are in the room with until it is dead. It does not matter if the Human is Infected or not.

When the Alien is revealed, the Alien may spend one action a turn giving specific commands to a room of small aliens. Small aliens commanded in this way may move in different directions, if the Alien so wishes it. In addition, the Alien may have small aliens use their secondary attack to Infect human players instead of attempting to kill them. The secondary attack forces a human to draw and reveal an Exposure card instead of losing health; if this Exposure card forces a Human over their threshold, they still die. If the Exposure card is Infected, the player searches the remaining Team/Role cards and adds an Infected team card to their team deck.

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